• Gov. Whitmer’s State of Small Business Summit Underscores Continued Focus on Supporting Small Businesses Across Michigan


    LANSING, Mich. – Today, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) at the Governor’s State of Small Business Summit, which brought together business support organizations, economic development partners, advocates, and lenders as part of a statewide effort to inform a comprehensive strategy for microenterprise and small business investment in Michigan.

    “Our economic development stakeholders play a vital role on Team Michigan, serving as the voice of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the state, as well as deploying resources through inclusive efforts and a desire to support a robust small business ecosystem,” said Lt. Governor Gilchrist. “We remain laser-focused on ensuring we work hand-in-hand with our ecosystem partners to continue driving meaningful conversations around programming that will impact microenterprises and small businesses across Michigan.”

    The event featured informative presentations from state leaders, including Lt. Governor Gilchrist, and experts sharing the latest in Michigan’s economic opportunity and small business recovery trends. Attendees also heard about strides MEDC has taken to elevate small business as a strategic focus area and updates on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) lending and technical assistance programs. Additionally, participants broke into small groups for discussion on technical assistance design, deployment, outcomes, and other relevant topics.

    Today’s summit builds on last month’s news that Michigan was approved for up to $236,990,950 through the first group of plans announced under SSBCI. Michigan was one of only five states to be approved for funding through this round of awards, which are intended to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic.

    The Michigan Strategic Fund is expected to receive the first round of the SSBCI funding – approximately $72 million – in the next 30 to 60 days. Lenders interested in supporting borrowers through the collateral support and loan participation program may begin contacting MEDC Capital Access immediately related to those programs at businessloans@michigan.org.

    “Michigan is committed to leading the way in efforts that help all small businesses, the communities they serve and the people they employ to thrive,” said Susan Corbin, Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “This summit is another example of how government and small business stakeholders can come together to develop strategic partnerships and deliver innovative solutions that create significant, lasting impacts.”

    Newly-released small business data underscores Michigan’s continued economic growth. According to Opportunity Insight’s Track the Recovery, January 2022 saw small business revenue in Michigan increase by 24 percent compared to January 2020, while the nation experienced a 6.9 percent increase over the same period. According to the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Michigan ranks 10th in small business revenue growth over the last two years.

    This latest positive data closely follows the recent announcement that Michigan had the fastest small business job growth in 23 years and that 150,000 new small business applications were filed in 2021, 59% more than in 2019.

    A White House report released in April found that more Americans are starting new businesses than ever before. In 2021, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses – 20% more than any other year on record. It also found that small businesses are creating more jobs than ever before, with businesses with fewer than 50 workers creating 1.9 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2021 – the highest rate of small business job creation ever recorded in a single year.

    “Our small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy, and here in Michigan, we’re committed to doing all we can to provide the support, resources and opportunities they need to grow and thrive,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We’re grateful to Gov. Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, the legislature and our partners who work tirelessly to champion our small businesses. No business is small to the risk-taking owners who sacrifice to employ neighbors and friends. We look forward to building on this progress over the coming year as we continue to elevate small businesses throughout Michigan.”

    Over 900,000 small businesses employ 1.9 million people. COVID-19 impacted small businesses nationally and here in Michigan. Governor Whitmer, through her MI New Economy plan is setting a bold goal for Michigan's small businesses to build on this momentum and have Top 10 growth during the next five years.

    Putting Small Businesses First
    Governor Whitmer remains committed to supporting small businesses as Michigan continues growing its economy. Under the MI New Economy plan, the governor laid out a $2.1 billion proposal to grow Michigan's middle class, support small businesses and invest in communities. As Michigan's economy grows, bolstered by a multi-billion-dollar surplus and increasing momentum, Governor Whitmer's proposals will tackle underlying issues faced by small businesses and make bold investments needed to create economic prosperity for all.

    • $500 million to build on the Michigan Mainstreet Initiative, which offers grants to restaurants, place-based businesses, and microenterprises with further dollars to attract more start-ups.
    • $200 million to create a more conducive business environment for high-tech, high-growth start-ups and create jobs of the future in Michigan.
    • Added 220,000 jobs in 2021, drove down unemployment and took Michigan from a projected $3 billion deficit to a $7 billion surplus.
    • Enacted a bipartisan tax cut for small businesses, enabling them to grow and create jobs.
    • Signed a Buy Michigan executive directive to increase state procurement and contracts with small and geographically disadvantaged businesses.
    • Signed the bipartisan Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) package, which supports business by fully funding a competitive economic development toolkit to help make Michigan a national leader in business attraction.
    • Launched over $400 million to support small businesses through Growing MI Business grants.
    • In partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Governor implemented 23 economic relief programs for businesses, supporting more than 25,000 companies and retaining more than 200,000 jobs, and provided $100 million through the Small Business Restart Program to help restaurants and other place-based businesses cover costs by providing grants up to $20,000 for mortgage, rent, taxes, payroll and other operating expenses.

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